Defining Scars

I have many scars. There’s the one that’s spread across my left shoulder, from when I ran into my dad while he was holding a steaming mug of tea. A small white scar dots the base of my right palm: a reminder of a race I lost to my brother when we were young and living in Beijing. The slightest groove on my right calf from the only surgical procedure I’ve had to endure. A fading pink splotch sitting upon my ankle reminds me to watch where I’m running (and ducking) at night. All of these scars are important, but the scar I choose as my “distinguishing feature” is the one that interrupts the knuckle on my third finger of my left hand (Perec, 108). It is nothing special. Most people rarely notice the scar. But it has been with me, ever since the fifth grade and for some reason it has not faded with time, like my other scars. As Perec suggests in his description of the scar on his face, the “cardinal importance” behind my scar is not conspicuous. I do not run around, bleating the dangers of bicycling; in fact, it is my third favorite mode of transportation (after trains and airplanes and before cars). It is a subtle reminder of one way in which I am connected to my brother. Besides sharing genes and a love for art, my brother and I have both been marred by biking accidents. The scar on my knuckle and the scar below his nose were both inflicted by the same bicycle on different occasions. We often joke that the bicycle is cursed, but a sinister truth sneaks into our nervous laughter. Our scars are testimonies. They explain why the maroon bicycle gathers dust in the basement while we share a blue bicycle. Even if the maroon bicycle is thrown away, we will not forget the accidents that tie us together. It is impossible: the destruction has been embedded into our bodies.

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